Red Arrows could land at RAF Wittering as RAF search for new base for iconic team

The iconic Red Arrows could be relocated to RAF Wittering under new plans from the Ministry of Defence.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 11:59 am
The Red Arrows
The Red Arrows

The world famous aerobatic group are currently based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire - but the base is set to close in 2022.

Today an RAF spokesman said: “Work is ongoing to decide the best option for the future suitable basing of the units currently based at RAF Scampton.

“Three sites have currently been identified as potentially suitable future locations for the Red Arrows: RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.”

A spokesman for RAF Wittering said: “We are delighted to find ourselves in consideration.”

It has not been confirmed when a decision will be made on where the Red Arrows will based.

The Red Arrows were formed in 1965, and have wowed crowds across the globe ever since.

They have been based at RAF Scampton since 1983.

There are nine pilots who fly in the Red Arrows’ precision displays, using the British-built BAE Systems Hawk T1 fast-jet. Before even applying for the team, a pilot must have amassed 1,500 flying hours, be classed as above average in their flying role and completed an operational tour – for example, helping to secure the skies of the UK on Quick Reaction Alert.

A pilot will then spend between two and four years with the team before returning to the frontline, instructional or staff duties.

Wing Commander Andrew Keith, who has overall responsibility for the Red Arrows, has previously been based at RAF Wittering. He had served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force from 1994, but following the demise of the RNZAF air combat force, Andrew transferred to the RAF in 2001. He was posted to the Harrier Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Wittering.